On our last visit to Sydney to visit and look after our grandchildren we had a child-free day, so we took advantage of the lovely weather to visit Lane Cove National Park. This park is a wonderful natural environment along the Lane Cove River and is only a ten minute drive from my son’s home, and not much more to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
We drove through a section of the park we had never visited before, checking out the many picnic areas along the river. We eventually settled on a pleasant spot and set up on a nearby picnic table. It wasn’t long before several species of birds came to visit us, all in the hope of a free lunch. The boldest happened to be the Australian Magpie shown in today’s photos. The magpies in the Sydney area happen to be the Black-backed sub-species. Those we have at home – Murray Bridge which is 80km SE of Adelaide, South Australia – are the White-backed version. The Western Magpie is found in Western Australia, and there are many variations due to hybridisation on other parts of the country.
Although this bird was very bold due to being very used to human visitors to the park, we didn’t take pity on him and feed it any morsels which is a good thing; human food is generally not only unsuitable for our birds and animals, it can also be dangerous and even deadly to them. Please don’t feed the birds.
In the coming days I will show more close encounters with other species of birds during our visit to this lovely park.
- Plenty of magpies
- Wild weather and baby magpies
- Magpies up close and personal
- Magpies up close and personal #2
A few days ago my wife and I spent a little while at Long Reef Point at Dee Why, a suburb of Sydney. This spot is known for its sea-birds, but at this time of the year only a few resident species can usually be found. Most of the waders have long since flown to warmer climes in the northern hemisphere.
The only water birds I was able to identify with my binoculars and the zoom on my camera were as follows:
Little Pied Cormorant
Little Pied Cormorant
Sooty Oystercatcher (see photo below)
That’s not a great list by anyone’s estimation, but about the best I could do in the short time I had. Other birds seen in the vicinity, including the adjacent golf course, were:
Common Myna (see yesterday’s post)
Variegated Fairy-wren (see post from 2 days ago)
Again – not a great list but about what I expected for this time of the year, and for the weather conditions which were dull and overcast.
Next time we visit family in the summer months I must take out time from looking after the grandchildren and visit this spot again.
My wife and I are currently visiting family in Sydney. Yesterday we were free from helping out with the grandchildren for a few hours, so we packed a picnic lunch and headed out to a few potential birding spots.
One of the places I was keen to revisit after many years was Long Reef Point next to the Long Reef Golf Course, Dee Why north-east of Sydney CBD.
It was a cool, dull, overcast day and the birding was quite slow. Despite this I made quite a nice little list of local resident birds but few photos. While there I realised it was the wrong time of year. Most of the migrant wading birds had long flown north to Asia for our winter. Wise birds.
During our visit, my wife and I sat quietly on a rock at the top of the point reaching out to sea from the mainland. Watching the waves come in can be very good for the soul, and very relaxing. We were pleased that it was a calm day; on windy days one could easily get blown off the cliff onto the beach or rocks below.
As we sat quietly a family of Variegated fairy-wrens came to visit within a few metres of where we sat. Despite the fact that wrens move incredibly quickly, I was able to get several good shots, shown on today’s post. The one below of female is quite delightful. It looks for all the world like she is scolding us for intruding on their territory.
A few weeks ago we had a family outing to Darling Harbour in Sydney. For morning tea we had visited one of the most wonderful cafes imaginable – see photo below – and then lingered on allowing the grandchildren to play on the playground equipment provided nearby.
As one would expect, the time got away from us and we needed to get lunch too; it would have been too late for the children if we had waited until we had arrived home on the train. So we went to the nearest fast food outlet – you know – the one with the big golden thingies on the roof.
Seeing it was in the middle of the World Cup, all the special hamburgers looked like small footballs. I chose an Argentinean hamburger while my wife choose a Brazil burger. With all the extra spices and sauces they were actually quite delicious.
I guess that the local Silver Gull population thought so too. Quite a gathering of them soon descended upon us where we sat, uninvited and unwelcome guests at our lunch. They didn’t get any.
I was amused earlier in the morning while having a wonderful treat for morning tea that the cafes of the area were frequently playing the calls of presumably a Peregrine falcon. I guess it was an optimistic attempt at scaring away the vast numbers of Silver Gulls, House sparrows, Feral Pigeons (Rock Doves) Noisy Miners and White Ibis which also find the Darling Harbour area quite attractive to visit. I do not think they are tourists. They look too comfortable, just like a local, I’d say.
My wife and I are currently staying with our son and family in Artarmon, a suburb of Sydney in New South Wales. Our two grandchildren, ages 5 and nearly 3 are taking an increasing interest in birds, due mainly from my influence. I often have my binoculars out looking at the birds seen in their garden or in nearby parks.
Last week my son was removing some clothes from the clothesline after dark. As he was getting the clothes off, he realised that he was being watched from the top of the clothesline a mere two metres away. From his own observations he instantly recognised it as a Tawny Frogmouth.
The bird stayed on the clothesline as he chatted quietly to it, removing the clothes slowly. As he turned to go inside, the bird silently flew off. He remarked to me how silently it departed.
Two nights ago the bird returned; I am assuming it was the same bird. Again it was perched on top of the clothesline. This time the grandchildren were still awake, so in turn I picked them up and quietly approached the clothesline. Each of them had good views of the bird before it silently flew off into the night.
I didn’t get a photograph as I was more interested in letting the children see the bird. Below is a photo taken in a friend’s garden in the Adelaide Hills several years ago.